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Natural Awakenings Tucson

New Life Health Centers Have All the Good Stuff

Sep 29, 2013 06:58PM ● By Sylvia Haskvitz

The motto of New Life Health Centers is “New Life knows nutrition!” and that’s apparent in the way they do business. If you have a question about anything connected to nutrition, from earaches to nutrition research, chances are someone working at one of the four New Life stores in the four quadrants of Tucson will be able to answer your question.

Employees make it a point to keep up on the very latest in research and products because it matters to them. They are hired with experience and each employee passes 13 tests to continue on the floor. There is regular continued training and they bring in manufacturers of products to train employees. They want customers to have access to that information, as well. They take the time to give personalized, one-on-one attention and make themselves available. Many of the store managers have been employed at New Life for 30 years; a recent hire would be 17 years ago.

The store idea began when Dr. Eugene Burns and his good buddy, Dr. Sheldon Deal, were working on their bodybuilding—it was Deal’s idea. The two men went to the only health food store in Tucson at the time. One feisty employee at this health food store, Belle Drake, responded to one of Eugene’s questions with, “We don’t have what you want. Why don’t you open a health food store and carry that?” The clerk said that if he followed through with it, she would work with him for 20 years.

He did and she did, but Drake died a few months before her 20 years was up. They were humble beginnings, with an old crank cash register, and the first store was 1,100 square feet. Burns went on to become a chiropractor and naturopath, while building 13 stores over the years.

The stores are each unique to the areas they serve. They have a similar base line of products but specialize in different items depending on their customers needs. The Ajo store, for example, is stocked with herbs, a frequent request from the customers frequenting this particular New Life location. The Broadway location is especially knowledgeable about celiac disease and gluten-free products.

Speedway, the biggest full-service health food store, has most anything you may be looking for, including all-organic produce, some local and some from a supplier. People line up for their organic meat. They also have a big supply of health and beauty items, including natural soaps without chemicals, and candles. And they support local products. Small business owners can bring in their wares to be considered for sale at the store. Cactus products, wheat grass and handmade local jewelry are examples of that.

New Life stays on top of new products and managers and staff are sent to the International Natural Health Food Expo every year. They are keen on educating people, often bringing in demonstrations and offering lectures.

Those that work at New Life believe the body can heal when it is given what it needs. If customers have a special order request, they will try to locate the item using their personal touch. New Life Marketing Director Susan Shew says, “New Life is here to serve you. Let us help you with whatever you need. We want you to find new life at New Life Centers.”

For more information, visit

Sylvia Haskvitz is a frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings.  


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